Garren lifted his head and started pulling back against the halter. Something was upsetting him and Perian turned to peer into the tangle ahead of them. As he did so a young lad leapt into his path bearing a shield and a sword, both of which were too big for him.
“Stop and pay homage to the king!” shouted the boy, waving the sword about his head with difficulty and peering over the top of the shield.
“Gladly,” said Perian, “where is he?”
“Where is he!” the boy sneered. “He is before you. You are before him. I am the king.”
Perian could not stop himself from laughing, even though
he was in grave danger from the flailing sword.
“What are you laughing at, peasant?” demanded the boy angrily, resting his sword for a moment. “Have you ever seen the king?”
“Do you know his name?” “No.”
“Then how do you know I am not the king?”
Perian bowed low.
“I am sorry, Your Majesty. I was misled by your dirty face, your ragged clothes, your rudeness and the smell that alerted this horse to your presence, Your Majesty.”
“You’re making fun of me!” shouted the boy. “I am the king! This is the royal shield bearing the Flaming Flower of the House of Lavrum and this is Sheean made for the hand of the king.” He wielded the sword once more, this time cutting a thick branch from a tree with one stroke.
“Please be careful with that blade,” said Perian, “or you will do yourself an injury. If, as you say, that sword was made for the hand of the king, then you are certainly not he, for it belongs in your hand as much as a plough belongs on a platter. Now tell me who you are.”